Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chronicals of a Picky Eater

Two-year olds are notoriously picky eaters, and Owen ranks up there with the best of them. We've gone so far as to calling him, "the non eater." Some of the highlights from the last year include:

On our family vacations last spring, Sara and I would make up two plates of food for Calla and Owen. Owen would eat 2, maybe 3 bites, and then we could hand his plate across the table to help satisfy Calla's unending appetite.

I think Owen survived the summer on fruit, crackers, and warm milk in a sippy cup.

At Owen's 2 year check-up last summer. I asked our Pediatrician if I should be concerned that Owen ate nothing. He quickly and sincerely said, "Absolutely not. Most 2-year olds don't eat. They may go 2-3 days just nibbling bites and then they'll have that day where they eat everything in sight." We're still waiting for that day.

Owen will not eat eggs unless they are in a baked good.

When Owen moved to his new "school" last summer, he spent the first couple weeks only eating one or two bites at snack and lunchtime. Miss Lauren was super excited to tell me the day that he ate half of his sandwich (already half sized) and half a cheese stick. Progress! I also found out recently that he generally doesn't eat breakfast after I drop him off. Too busy playing to be bothered by food. At least they serve homemade muffins and fruit for morning snack.

Having a non-eater was great during pregnancy. I always had extra snacks lying around in the form of Owen's leftovers.

Owen's weight held steady at 24.5 pounds for at least 6, probably 8 or 9 months. I was so excited to see the scale read 26 pounds in January. A weight gain that I can only attribute to the terrible habit we had gotten into: "If you eat three more bites of X, you can have a treat." That results in 3 more bites of nutritious calories and the dessert calories to boot.

Owen loves peas. As long as they are frozen.

We've also developed a second terrible habit since Josh was born. I'm okay whipping up a separate meal for Owen when the family dinner isn't going to sit with his toddler palate. That's why we have frozen meatballs and chicken nuggets. But, in our unwillingness to put a foot down, we started making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anytime Owen objected to the dinner we put on the table. That had to stop. Dinner is dinner. Eat it (hopefully) or be hungry.

However, I am proud to report... progress has been made. It might be only temporary, but in the last week we have seen:
- After giving him a set of chopsticks, Owen ate a toddler sized portion of sausage/pepper stir fry. I made a mental note to put a chopstick worthy meal on every week's menu.
- After asking Owen to raise his spoon and "cheers" his soup to me, he gobbled up more than a dozen bites of hearty vegetable-barley soup. Scott also "cheers"-ed Owen into eating a passable sized helping of Asian turkey wraps.
- Not one dinner in the last two weeks has been surrendered for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We are holding our ground.

Tonight, dinner time rolled around with Owen throwing a tantrum because he wanted to eat lunch and not dinner. (I figured out this was his sneaky ploy to get a PB&J.) I held my ground and convinced Owen to help me mix the squash pasta and assemble his plate of food. Then, beyond all expectation, Owen ate his whole plate of pasta without any cajoling or prodding on my part. And then... a miracle of godly proportions happened... "Mom, a little more pasta, please." Seriously? He asked for seconds? And said please? I nearly passed out. So, another plate of pasta appeared, Owen started eating, and mentioned that he might need even more. Who is this child?

We would love to see this trend continue. At this rate, Owen might grow into his 2T clothing before he hits age 3...


Colleen said...

I love frozen peas too! It's great to celebrate the little victories with picky eaters! Zach used to be SO picky but he eats almost anything now, so there is always hope. Hooray for Owen!

angie said...

oh my goodness...I applaud your patience! Q is a good eater, but now I am worried than it will all end when she hits 2..I'll have to remember these little tips.

SBM said...

Great progress report! It's also encouraging because I never know whether to worry or just say "oh well" when Anatole eats one or two bites of dinner. I also think your objective of one dinner is excellent. The majority of nights we do the same and if Anatole eats nothing (or two bites, which, in my mind is the same equivalent) and perhaps a small yogurt for dessert, then he invaribly eats a hearty breakfast the next morning.

Sara said...

Well, the girl who used to clean up Owen's leftovers has moved out and has been replaced by the girl who exists pretty much on cereal and fruit, with the occasional bite of soy yogurt and maybe a chicken nugget here and there. A sure sign that she's turning two.